Electric circuit

panhandle444

Member
Location
oklahoma
I'm looking for a diagram that shows how the electricity flows from the circuit breaker through the load.... To explain to an apprentice how a single phase circuit works.

Thanks
 

drcampbell

Senior Member
Location
The Motor City, Michigan USA
Occupation
Engineer

Dsg319

Senior Member
Location
West Virginia
Occupation
(Green)Master Electrician
If Im here asking...obviously I'm not confident my electrical theory....power goes from circuit breaker....then through load....goes back on neutral to the utility transformer?
Could YouTube Engineering Mindset (believe his name is Paul). He’s got some good material pertaining to showing the fundamentals of how electricity works.
 

synchro

Senior Member
Location
Chicago, IL
Occupation
EE
Exactly...the return is always to the source.
And even in the non-electrical world the word "circuit" usually refers to a path or journey ending in the same place, like a racetrack, someone on a lecture circuit, etc.
So there's a good reason they used the word "circuit" with electricity.

From the Oxford dictionary for "circuit":
Origin
late Middle English: via Old French from Latin circuitus, from circuire, variant of circumire ‘go round’, from circum ‘around’ + ire ‘go’.
 

LarryFine

Master Electrician Electric Contractor Richmond VA
Location
Henrico County, VA
Occupation
Electrical Contractor
Some years ago, I posted this in response to a member who had trouble understanding neutrals and grounding. It doesn't directly explain your question, but may help.

 

roger

Moderator
Staff member
Location
Fl
Occupation
Electrician
If Im here asking...obviously I'm not confident my electrical theory....power goes from circuit breaker....then through load....goes back on neutral to the utility transformer?
Here's a simple illustration of a two wire circuit., follow the arrows.

1607518134972.png

Roger
 

drcampbell

Senior Member
Location
The Motor City, Michigan USA
Occupation
Engineer
So if I only connect a single breaker to my residential service, there will be no neutral? ...
That's right. It's only "neutral" if the currents in all the ungrounded conductors are equal & opposite* and no current is flowing in the white/grounded conductor.
If there's current flowing in it, it's not "neutral".
Why the white/grounded return conductor is so widely called "neutral" when it's not, I cannot explain. (let alone defend)

* or their vector sum is zero, where there's more than one phase.
 

K8MHZ

Senior Member
Location
Michigan. It's a beautiful peninsula, I've looked
Occupation
Electrician
That's right. It's only "neutral" if the currents in all the ungrounded conductors are equal & opposite* and no current is flowing in the white/grounded conductor.
If there's current flowing in it, it's not "neutral".
Why the white/grounded return conductor is so widely called "neutral" when it's not, I cannot explain. (let alone defend)

* or their vector sum is zero, where there's more than one phase.
What is the name of the conductor in the drawing that the grounding electrode conductor is connected to?
 

K8MHZ

Senior Member
Location
Michigan. It's a beautiful peninsula, I've looked
Occupation
Electrician
That's right. It's only "neutral" if the currents in all the ungrounded conductors are equal & opposite* and no current is flowing in the white/grounded conductor.
If there's current flowing in it, it's not "neutral".
Why the white/grounded return conductor is so widely called "neutral" when it's not, I cannot explain. (let alone defend)

* or their vector sum is zero, where there's more than one phase.
The NEC defines the neutral as the conductor connected to the mid point of a single phase three wire system. That's how I was taught as well.
 

roger

Moderator
Staff member
Location
Fl
Occupation
Electrician
The NEC defines the neutral as the conductor connected to the mid point of a single phase three wire system. That's how I was taught as well.
Then what's your question? Forget the NEC definition, in a two wire circuit both sides of a load see the same current, in fact with a single load it is a series circuit

Roger
 
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